Secrets Of The Moon
posted on 11/2009 By:
The revelation of Secrets of the Moon was an inadvertent one. Many moons ago (ha!), I was working through an arduous Antaeus infatuation, which began with with a late-to-the-party discovery of Cut Your Flesh and Worship Satan and ended abruptly with release of Blood Libels. Yeah, it was a brief affair, and in the midst of it, I had taken to slogging through the dank, cultish world of Myspace blogging. Eventually, I stumbled upon the morbid tale of what would be Antaeus' final tour. By the band's account, it didn't go well (by my deduction, sucking live was among their myriad issues), and they subsequently threw in the towel, forsaking one of the basic tenets of metaldom.
So, what's the point of this rant? Well, the band that Antaeus was opening for on this ill-fated tour was none other than Secrets of the Moon. Through a mess of convoluted bullshit, the band's 2006 effort Antithesis revealed itself to me, and what a surprise it was. Essentially the polar opposite of Antaeus' raw cacophony, Secrets of the Moon specialized in a striking, crisp brand of mid-paced black metal. Chunky, groovy, and accessible, Antithesis boasted meaty riffs, a hearty guitar tone, and stoic sense of purpose.
Three years later, the band offers up Privilegivm, and the only trait that has carried over from Antithesis is the accessibility, and even that claim is tenuous due to the album's sheer length. Imagine Satyricon--full-on rockstar The Age of Nero Satyricon--slowed down to a doomy, leaden pace. Suck out some of the venom, smack it with an "Enter Sandman" production aestethetic, stretch the song lengths to the eight-minute range, and there you have it: Privilegivm in a nutshell, provided you can scavenge a figurative nutshell with the capacity to contain its obesity.
Architecturally, the album is quite similar to its predecessor. Trouble is, Privilegivm takes about 20 minutes to engage, and even then, its grip is intermittent. "I Maldoror" shows the first glimmer of panache, powered by a nasty swagger and some sinister riffing that would make for a killer three-to-four-minute slicer. But, like the rest of the tracks on this album, it's over seven minutes long, and there's really no reason for it to be. "Harvest" has a great riff that emerges at the 9:30 mark (not a typo), but getting there is either maddening or monotonous, depending on your tolerance level. Quality riffs are in short supply, tempo changes are practically non-existent, and none of these songs build to a true climax, making the hour-long Privilegivm practically impossible to listen to in a single sitting.
Closer "Shepherd" is the album's highlight, in spite of the mushy attempt at clean vocals. A bastardized blend of "My Friend of Misery" and "Planet Caravan," this song boasts more self-contained creativity than the previous 50 minutes combined. Hopefully the band has the cajones to keep rolling with this expansion in scope, as to entertain anything less could seriously jeopardize their appeal.
It's obvious that Secrets of the Moon are attempting to exude a hypnotic, soundtrack-ish vibe, similar to that of Rotting Christ or even a less-bombastic Septic Flesh. They fail. The blunted Bob Rock-ness of the album negates any and all attempt at recreating the sinister, foreboding atmosphere that Antithesis wore so well. Privilegivm boasts fluidity and precision in spades, but it lacks crucial quantities of heart, soul, and malice--qualities paramount to their chosen path.
Register to post comments.